Spring is in the air and A Touch of Class Tree Service knows the weather will bring fresh new growth. Are you planting trees this spring? Read this first to get a heads up on the “do’s and don’ts” of what will make your trees healthy, happy and vigorous this year. Our experts are by your side to guide you every step of the way with experienced arborists and knowledgeable tree pruners to help out.
Why plant in the springtime? The plain and simple answer is the weather and temperature. It is not too cold and not too hot, so trees can adjust and thrive in just the right temperatures, allowing them an easy transition and safety from freezing in the winter or overheating in the summer. Here a few ways to keep your trees looking healthy and happy.
- Choose the RIGHT tree, the RIGHT spot, and the RIGHT time when planting the tree of your choice. Take into consideration just how big the tree will get, make sure there is plenty of room for the root system, and ensure there are no overhead obstructions such as roof lines or power lines.
- Consider hiring a professional arborist such as A Touch of Class Tree Service for all your planting needs. Specialists know tree species and could save you a lot of money and heartache from losing trees due to incorrect planting. They will also know the best trees for the area where you live.
- Water; this seems like an easy task, but knowing how much water new young trees need is essential to their health. Ten gallons of water per week for a new young tree during the summer months is typical for this area and necessary for their growth. Remember to water during cooler temperatures as in the early morning or evening.
- Mulch around your trees to avoid compaction. Mulching will protect the soil from drying out and prevent lawn machinery from injuring the root system.
So now you know some basic points about tree planting, let’s dig a little deeper to understand the dynamics of planting a tree in the ground and what is involved. You have chosen the perfect tree and the perfect spot to put it; now it is time to dig the hole and get your hands dirty!
TOOLS: Get yourself a long-handled shovel and a pair of gloves; neoprene will save your hands from callouses and blisters. Purchase some composted soil and composted pine bark soil conditioner to enrich the dirt. Never use unfinished compost or fresh manure. You will also need some root stimulants and mulch, placing it above ground after planting the tree. Use any form of mulch including pine bark, pine needles, shredded hardwood, cocoa shells, cedar mulch, or whatever you may find in the area.
DIG THE HOLE: Start by digging up the soil at a circumference of about twice as wide as the rootball itself and one and a half as deep; this is the norm for planting. Make the hole in a saucer shape, not straight up and down along the edges. This helps the tree roots move upward into the higher-oxygenated soil. Turn the ground over, breaking it up so that it’s fine and the topsoil is mixed in with the deeper soil. Now add the soil amendments; mix in a generous amount of each.
PREPARE THE TREE: Gently work the rootball out of the pot, being very careful to avoid damaging the roots. Tear or cut the sides of the pot if necessary. Then tease the roots out of the rootball with your fingers rubbing through the sides of the rootball to loosen the roots. If your tree is wrapped in burlap, do not remove root ball material. Remove any twine or string at this time.
PLANT YOUR TREE: Place your tree in the center of the hole. The rootball should be level with the ground and sit on the undug soil. Add soil to the hole and tamp it down to make it firm. If the rootball is below grade, the tree could undergo root rot or suffocate. Once positioned in the hole, gently drop the backfill into the hole, around the rootball, about halfway up. Now you can add a bio stimulant around the roots before filling up the hole. Do not pat down the soil or compact it at this point.
LAST STEPS: Spread excess soil around the tree to make it level and feather out a fair amount of mulch around the tree. It should only be about 1 inch in depth to avoid fungal or moisture issues. Mulch is a great way to help conserve moisture, moderate temperature and keep weeds at bay. Water the tree immediately after planting with a gentle pour, such as with a water wand. If the soil sinks in too far, add more backfill.
STAKE or NOT? Most trees do not need staking. Trees naturally develop roots and trunk growth. Placing stakes creates an artificial support causing the tree never to develop properly, making the tree weak and prone to breakage once the supports are removed. If necessary to stake, do so only as long as it takes the roots to develop – only a few months, but no longer than a full growing season. Be sure to use staking straps. Down the road, it may need support via cabling and bracing, but that’s different story.
WATERING: For the first year of tree growth, water once a week with at least 1 inch of water. Temperatures, drought conditions, rainfall, and tree size, may mean you will need to water twice a week. But remember, overwatering can lead to root rot so the soil should be moist, but not soaking in standing water. Early morning or evening in cooler temperatures is the best time to water the tree. To prepare your tree for winter, water it thoroughly in the fall.
By following these above planting chores and having the help of A Touch of Class Tree Service, you won’t have to ask, “How and where should I be planting trees this spring? Read this first, and you will be one step ahead of the game and enjoy the fruits of your labor on warm, summer evenings.